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Emmaus Norfolk & Waveney calls out for votes to bag a share of Tesco’s bag fund

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney Community Building

Homelessness charity Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney is bidding to bag a massive cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative after being shortlisted for its “Allotment Spade to Kitchen Fork” garden project.

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its community funding scheme, and will award grants of up to £4000 raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores to local community projects.

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney’s project will involve an allotment gardener, inspiring and training companions (formerly homeless people), volunteers and staff to create a kitchen garden on unused land at the charity’s Ditchingham location. The area will be transformed into a cared for, well-tended and productive garden that will service the charity’s community kitchen, coffee shop and retail outlets with food, plants and produce. The project will help the charity’s aim to become self-sustaining, with a focus on cultivation, food production and healthy eating.

Cathy Hembry, Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney General Manager, said: “Our companions have expressed a keen interest in transforming our unused land into an area where they can grow produce, but the reality of them doing it on their own is too overwhelming.”

“An expertly run “Allotment Spade to Kitchen Fork” project will not only give our companions the chance to learn new garden skills, improve confidence, and help reduce stress, but will see companions get involved in an ongoing project that requires commitment and patience to achieve results.”

“As the project grows, companions will take a clear lead in its development thanks to the expert training that this funding opportunity offers.”

Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney provides a home and meaningful work for up to 23 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion, offering them an alternative route out of homelessness and a fantastic way of life within a supportive environment. Companions work full time while they are at Emmaus selling and upcycling second-hand furniture and household items at its Ditchingham and Bungay charity shops.

Three projects in East Anglia have been shortlisted by Tesco to receive the cash awards, with shoppers invited to head along to Beccles Tesco Superstore and Southwold Queen St Tesco Express store throughout March and April to vote for who they think should take away the top grant. Customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop. The project with the most votes will receive up to £4,000, with second place receiving up to £2,000 and third place up to £1,000.

Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for March and April. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

Groundwork’s National Chief Executive, Graham Duxbury, said: “We’ve been thrilled to see the diversity of projects that have applied for funding, ranging from outdoor classrooms, sports facilities, community gardens, play areas and everything in between.

“We’re looking forward to learning the results of the customer vote and then supporting each group to bring their project to life.”

Tesco’s Bags of Help project has already delivered over £43 million to more than 10,000 projects up and down the UK. Tesco customers get the chance to vote for three different groups every time they shop. Every other month, when votes are collected, three groups in each of Tesco’s regions will be awarded funding.

To learn more about Emmaus Norfolk and Waveney please call 01986 895444 or visit www.emmaus.org.uk/norfolk_waveney.

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